The events of 2008 remind us that job security can be fleeting. Job market vigilance has become a modern day career survival technique, requiring professionals to keep a constant eye open for that next opportunity and be prepared to launch a job search on a moment's notice.
So if proactive job search and career advancement techniques haven't been part of your regular routine, consider including a few of these resolutions on your list for 2009.
Update your resume: Even if you aren't looking for a new job, never miss an opportunity to pass your resume along to a contact. Set up a recurring appointment on your calendar to update your resume each month, and establish a goal of distributing your resume to at least one new contact each week.
Seek the spotlight: A good reputation is invaluable. Employees who are perceived positively in the workplace have greater job security, and they can be recruited by other companies based solely upon their workplace reputations. But don't expect to nurture good opinions strictly through your job performance. You'll have to engage in some self promotion to develop a broad reaching status. Volunteer to serve on committees, blog about your current project on the company intranet, represent the company at community events or conduct user training. Participate in one activity each month that will build your positive image both inside and outside your current company.
Conduct bilateral networking: Relationships are a two-way street. So, if you're always asking for referrals and introductions, but never offer to break the ice for anyone else, your contacts may not come through when you need them the most. Volunteer to introduce your professional contacts to others and pass them job leads without being asked. They'll return the favor.
Be politically astute: Even if you hate corporate politics, learn how to play the game intelligently. If company executives know who you are, you'll have greater job security. Post positive comments on executive blogs, attend executive-hosted lunch and learn sessions, offer positive feedback during employee surveys, hang out in the company cafeteria or parking garage, where you might bump into company brass. Also, listen to the company grapevine, but don't offer any information. You don't want your name connected with negative gossip.
Track the job market: Set up job alerts, track news about prospective employers and build relationships with recruiters. Meet informally with at least one manager outside your company each month, and accept any invitation to explore a potential opportunity. Make career advancement part of your weekly routine and you stand a much better chance of realizing your dreams in 2009.